March 3, 2010: Fire warnings are another consideration in wind turbine safety debate

in

To The Editor:
The Western Catskills Preservation Alliance has found yet another safety precaution that was removed by Invenergy in the public online documents.
Vestas Wind Turbine Manual, Section 16. Safety Regulations for Operators and Technicians: Precautions in case of Fire, it states to employees: in case of fire, under no circumstances approach the turbine. Evacuate and rope off the turbine in a radius of minimum 1,300 feet.
This is in addition to the other 1,300 feet safety information that was removed previously. Stamford has a setback of 1,000 feet to an adjacent property, Roxbury has a setback of only 615 feet. This is probably one of the weakest wind laws in the country as far as protection for its residents. Once again we call upon the towns of Roxbury and Stamford to amend the setbacks in their current wind laws to a minimum of 1,300 feet to an adjacent property line. Not to do so would be a blatant disregard for the residents of both towns. As time goes on, we learn that turbine collapses, ice problems and fires, are not uncommon occurrences in the United States and in Europe. These warnings are documented by the Turbine manufacturer in both the Stamford Application and the DEIS.
The towns are on notice of the turbine manufacturer’s fire warnings and as a result they would be, in my view, exposed to liability should there be injury or damage from such fires. This would clearly be criminal negligence if someone were injured as a result of fire. Do we want our towns sued over this? Would it not be more prudent for our elected officials to insist on the setbacks and other safety precautions the manufacturer recommends?

Ken Haas,
Stamford